Research Area

Information and Communication Technologies


Simon Factor


Abraham Campbell

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Middleware Wireless Sensor Networks Internet of Things


The SIXTH sense enabling you access to the hidden sensors all around you.

SIXTH™ is a Java-based middleware for the mobile Sensor Web. The Internet of Things (IoT) offers the potential of a world in which computing has become ubiquitous. A world in which a plethora of devices at any given time can be providing sensor data to allow for the creation of rich sensor-driven mobile applications. The breadth and depth of new applications possibilities, commercial opportunities and innovations within this rapidly emerging and increasingly mobile-centric landscape is truly awesome but to access all the sensors around a given user at any point in time is still a non-trivial task. SIXTH™ creates a producer/consumer sensor web around a user where the user has apps to find and locate sensors automatically around them to create more feature rich app experiences. Developers are provided with an abstraction layer that gives the ability to access these sensors without the technical hurdles associated with previous solutions.
How It Works
SIXTH™ is a Java-based middleware for the mobile Sensor Web that promotes modularity, extensibility, scalability, reusability and heterogeneity. Through SIXTH™ , sensor-driven applications are abstracted away from the underlying sensing network in line with the vision of the Sensor Web. SIXTH™ enables the dynamic (re)tasking of sensor nodes to suit shifting application demands in near real time. Its core concepts, needed to represent key abstractions of important Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) components include Virtual Sensor Nodes, Virtual Sensors, Adaptors and Cyber Sensors. SIXTH is built on the Open Services Gateway initiative framework (OSGi). ODGi is a modularization and service platform for Java, which allows for the dynamic introduction and removal of modular functional components. It is the basis for the popular Eclipse IDE.
SIXTH addresses a number of key problems including: 1. Developers currently cannot use sensors in an ad hoc manner. Current mobile applications can only exploit the local sensors available in a given smartphone. If a developer only wants to use the smartphone’s own sensors (e.g. GPS, accelerometer) this is easily accomplished. However there are very significant technical difficulties where the application demands combining sensors in the smartphone and externally (e.g. a heart monitor, air quality sensor). 2. There is no way to dynamically choose what sensors to listen to. Currently there is no means of automatically deciding which sensors are relevant for a particular task. This is a crucial problem in many application domains (e.g. when deciding what sensors to use when transferring from indoors to outdoors in an AR environment). In addition, there is need to not only treat a sensor as being ‘on’ or ‘off' but further, to be able to query sensors and decide which are relevant for a particular task. 3. Scalability of a Sensor network. Sixth has developed a middleware that allow for a scalable sensor web where one device may have access thousands of different sensors. 4. Real time discovery. SIXTH is built to allow for the use be a zero- configurable allowing for the discovery of new sensors as the users devices moves through the environment. 5. How to visualize this sensor information in an intuitive manner. AR is a natural fit to aid in the visualization of data originating from the sensor web. This new area of mobile application development can benefit from leveraging the sensor web to provide the necessary orientation and position information to create AR experiences to provide an intuitive interface for user-friendly applications.
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